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The advice below, taken from a Regency book of etiquette, published in and written by John Trusler, is surely still prudent: That was a first and a big moment for me. Like everyone he knew, Luka possessed a wide assortment of pocket-sized alternate-reality boxes, and spent much of his spare time leaving his own world to enter the rich, colorful, musical, challenging universes inside these boxes, universes in which death was temporary until you made too many mistakes and it became permanent and a life was a thing you could win, or save up for, or just be miraculously granted because you happened to bump your head into the right brick, or eat the right mushroom, or pass through the right magic waterfall, and you could store up as many lives as your skill and good fortune could get you. Though I thought them strange, I did my best to assimilate the material and showed up for my audition. These are things you just don't see anymore with music going digital. But it found its wings only via Immergluck who understood what it needed and had the skill to make it happen, and this became a live fixture down the gigs to the very end. The Kansas landscape mimics that of Afghanistan and Iraq in color and flatness, making it an ideal training ground for soldiers at the Army base before they head off to war.

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I went in to learn a trade and spent a good two years in various electronic schools they offered. That is where I had my third band. Myself on drums, a kid on a Fender Rhodes 88 key electric piano, a Robert Plant wannabe on vocals, and this little black kid from Alabama on a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. I only mention "this little black kid" as such, because he freaked out all the other black guys on the ship.

They were all into the soul and funk music of the day and here comes one of their own wielding an electric guitar with a vengeance. His entry into the band allowed me my first taste of playing what the big boys played. Our renditions of those pieces was close enough that our ship mates loved whenever we got to play for them. That was my first real taste of rock drumming, and the impetus for my moving to San Francisco, post Navy.

That was in February The Navy wanted me to stick around to teach crypto school but I just couldn't ignore the itch to go play rock-n-roll. My cousin JS was living in San Francisco at the time and I used to spend my summers there with his family during my high school years.

I knew from those summers that I already liked that town. My cousin was also a drummer back then and playing in a metal band at the time. He agreed to let me room with him until I could find my own place, so I moved forward with my plan. I had a 4 piece Slingerland drum kit that came with me. Let me pause to say that was a great sounding drum set, but intended for jazz drumming, not the power style of rock drumming that lay ahead.

Musicians in San Francisco are as plentiful as grains of sand on the beach. Within two months of moving there I was in a band. I don't remember our band name, just that we were led by a guitar player with a shock of flaming red hair that matched his Gibson ES hollow body electric. The guy was a huge Clapton fan like every other guitar player on the planet , which led to us covering Cream, and Derek and the Dominos material, plus stuff by the Stones and Faces.

I really love the Rod Stewart stuff from that period. What I did not love was being in a band that played nothing cover tunes. That band lasted about 3 months and then I found myself in another band. That band was called Fractions and we did all original music. We had a talented writer at the keyboards, who unfortunately had a hidden aspect to his life.

Before long he started missing rehearsals; more and more as time went by. Then we come to find out he had AIDS.

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He succumbed quickly to the disease, poor fellow, and the band was done. About that time I decided to upgrade my drum kit. I was a big fan of Neil Peart at the time, and so, went for the monster drum set. I bought this big beautiful Tama Tamstar Royal Pewter drum kit that when combined with my RotoToms gave me an eleven piece monster kit.

What I found out in short order was this kit would not fit on most drum risers, so I would leave out a couple of pieces and sally forth. The acquisition of this kit gave me the tools for what lay ahead. A drummer friend of mine called me over to his house to jam. He said he had a guitar player for me to meet, a chap by the name of Sal Carozzo.

We hit it off immediately, musically speaking. I loved his tone and style and he liked that I could play along with anything he did. My varied musical background served me well over the years and really worked well with Sal. Philosophically we had our differences; a guy from suburban California and a guy from New York City, but musically it fit.

This meeting that day turned out to be fateful, as it forged a musical bond that lasted 12 years. Together, we formed a band called Bad Habit. Unfortunately, this was a band that lived down to its name. Tragedy and woe followed us around like a shadow.

Musically, it was a grand adventure playing in Bad Habit. Over the twelve years it was always me and Sal at the core of the group, but with a revolving cast of characters filling out the rest of the roster - 4 different bass players, 3 different singers and a keyboard player.

The lineup kept changing over the years where we might be performing on any occasion as a trio, a quartet, or even a quintet. The music was a nice mix of mostly originals, with a few covers thrown in for good measure. I liked that we always put our own spin on the cover tunes. Imagine a punk'd out version of the Monkees tune I'm a Believer, for instance. We had our own takes on Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, The Who and many others, but it was the original songs that really got my juices flowing.

Sal and I found it real easy to write songs together. He was in a small minority of musicians I encountered over the years that could actually jam. He had a musical catalogue within, as well as the musical instincts to spontaneously create music. At times, this band was really good; one of three bands, out of eighteen that I was in, that attained that status.

Sal was always good at creating a scene around the band; lots of groupies, hangers-on, drug dealers, helpers and predators, and lots of other musicians. We used to organize these six hour jam sessions. This was always heaven for me as I would be the only drummer in attendance with about 30 other musicians to play with.

It was on one of these occasions that I met Leslie Medford. The Ophelias were but a drop in the bucket, timewise, in my life; not even two years, but so much happened in that drop. I think I actually first met Leslie at the set of flats he shared with Sal, the guitar player I was working with in Bad Habit.

Sal lived in the upper flat and Leslie in the bottom flat of a pace in Oakland. The meeting was so brief that I didn't really get a reading on him. He looked pleasant and interesting enough, but I didn't really get to talk with him. It wasn't long after, maybe a couple weeks later, that we had one of those six hour jam sessions and Leslie shows up for it. I'm looking at him thinking he must be some sort of musician or he wouldn't be here.

He didn't stay long, but long enough to get me and Sal to try one of his songs. It struck me as industrial rock with a kind of mechanical feel to it at first, but after a couple of runs at it, I really started liking it. Then he was gone. It wasn't too long after this that the Haight Street Fair came up.

They close off the street to traffic, array three stages spread out down the length of the street and let the party commence. I've got my one year old son in the kiddie carrier on my back and we are working our way through the crowd towards the main stage. As we get there, I see that it's The Ophelias setting up on the stage. I'm looking at them and saying to myself "Hey, I know that guy.

He leans over and tells me that their drummer is leaving the band and would I like to audition for his spot. Being game to try anything musically I say sure, why not. We arrange a meeting where he hands me a tape of their stuff to learn before the audition a week later. To tell the truth, I thought them a little strange at first.

I was more of a hard rocker as compared to the alternative slant they had on things. Though I thought them strange, I did my best to assimilate the material and showed up for my audition. Honestly, I didn't think I had a prayer at making the band, as we seemed to come from two different musical worlds.

So, full of trepidation I dragged my drums up the stairs to the loft they had set aside for the audition. I had heard enough of their previous drummer, Geoffrey Armour, to know that we were nothing alike musically, so again, why am I here? Yet, the opportunity beckoned.

I set up my drums and stumbled through the arrangements. I only had the tape for a week to learn the material, but still leaned into it 'cuz that's what rock drummers do, right? Apparently, it was enough. The boys in the band got excited and I got hired. Ten days later I was playing my first gig with them. I still didn't know the material and had to fake my way through a lot of the set.

Still, it was exciting to be playing in a new band, in a venue I had not played in before. I was now in a band that had an album and an EP getting radio airplay. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was a huge determining factor in where you got to play. Being in The Ophelias, I was playing venues that my other bands could not get into.

Radio airplay was the difference. We continued to practice and gig, so I was learning the songs as we went along, but I was also learning something else. I could sense a discord in the band that I was not immediately aware of, particularly coming from Terry. I started picking up the signs then, such as being on stage, finishing a song and instead of a clean finish to the song there'd be some squealing feedback coming from the guitar.

Then I would see the disgruntled look spread across von Blankers face and hear him say "Thanks Keith. I think this was something that had probably been brewing for a while. It wasn't much longer before Keith was out of the band. On a personal level, I liked the guy. Keith was nice enough and fun to be around, but I think he wanted to be Jimi Hendrix and as such, was in the wrong band.

In September von Blankers announced he would leave the band unless Dion was replaced. A day or so after the benefit show Medford met with Dion and informed him he was no longer the guitarist in The Ophelias. Keith Dion was in the Ophelias from October until 16 September He plays on five Ophelias studio tracks: He performed live as a member of the group 25 times.

Furthermore, Dion and Arthur West and their Strange Weekend Record Company helped put The Ophelias before the public by releasing the band's debut album on their label. We actually played one gig as a three piece, an acoustic in-store show at the Rough Trade San Francisco location. Then the auditions began.

They auditioned several guitarists that October, but Medford contracted pneumonia and was bedridden for three weeks. The personnel reshuffle was also delaying the Rough Trade Records deal as the company had an obvious interest in the band's line-up and stability. An aesthetic that was sorely lacking in the Bay Area music scene of the time, so I was seriously thrilled to find a new band to call my own!

I think she also brought producer Sandy Pearlman to see the band and we all wound up in a corner of the club after they played. So I maniacally reached out through any channel I could think of and to my relief cuz I knew they were looking at other guitarists as well we finally wound up in a rehearsal room together. I guess it went really well because I got a call from Leslie about a week later to meet for coffee next to the Tower Records in Berkeley where he had worked.

And there, with his good friend Jeff Clark singer of Shiva Burlesque in attendance, Leslie ceremonially offered me the coveted spot over double cappuccinos. Needless to say I was beyond chuffed. I'm talking about weird, atmospheric effects, and in total sympathy with the rest of us and oh so musical And he was willing to take the lead and soar with it.

When we stopped playing we all just looked at each other and laughed. It was one of those rare moments when we all just knew this was it. Leslie was asking me and Terry who we liked from the auditions, but luckily for us, he was just asking. I had David at the number two spot on my list but clearly that would have been a mistake to pass on him.

It wasn't long after he joined the band that he had changed my mind about who he was and what he could bring to the party. I found out in short order that he, like me, had a wonderfully diverse musical background. He could quickly and easily adapt to any musical situation and add something wonderful to the mix.

This was exactly what was needed to play in this band, as Leslie was wont to challenge us all with various musical stylings. David was exactly the right guy. Another thing he and I found out quickly was that we could play off each other. He exhibited a trait that I love in my fellow bandmates - he had his ears on.

This band as a whole was really good at that, which is why The Ophelias became my favorite band to play in. When we would play together the eye contact was good and everyone was listening to each other. It is also not the norm, which is kinda' baffling to me. Too often, in other bands, I would be playing with people who appeared lost in their own little worlds. These guys were not like that.

As a result, when we were on stage we were a tighter ensemble and were having more fun because we were playing together, instead of just inhabiting the same stage. The bonus is that when the band is having more fun together, the audience does too. I believe the onstage interaction is huge. Benton, Immergluck, Medford, von Blankers. I do remember the place very well though: The Looters would throw benefit concerts in the place from time to time, so it was like rehearsing in a proper Nightclub.

I got down there the first day and we jumped right in to it. Leslie always recorded everything on cassette with his boombox, I believe. It produced a really cool atmospheric compressed sound of the band, as those cheap boombox microphones tended to do , and much later years later! Magic was definitely afoot! Considered the classic line-up, this one was also the longest lasting, the one that played the most shows by far, the one that toured, and the one that recorded twenty-six studio tracks, far and away the most of any configuration of The Ophelias.

Rough Trade had been contacted by Dave Roback of Opal and Mark Mulcahy of Miracle Legion, each expressing interest in producing the album but budgetary constraints dictated a self-production. Probably it was the cheapest track studio around, and we had a tiny budget to work with.

As in most things you get what you pay for. I know there was a sibilance problem on the vocals which we struggled over on our dime, and it was just not the most professional situation. A rhythm section which kicks ass live has entirely different challenges in a small recording studio, and neither Randy, Edward or Terry were experienced enough to deliver a solid bass-and-drums sound without a lot of our time allotment being devoted to it.

Still, I have great memories of the sessions. You just roll with the punches and do your best. And in the end we did achieve a robust bass and drum sound on most of the tracks. It was always exciting creating records. David was a huge advantage to us. He was a recording engineer himself, almost certainly more adept and experienced than Randy. I remember he took charge of the tape loop effect during "Midsummernight's Scene" and really made that happen properly.

We were all euphoric about his playing, his enthusiasm, and his humour and good attitude. We rented orchestral bells for "Love Is Teasing" and "There's A Bell" and we all took turns clobbering them to much mutual delight. Randy Rood played the excellent violin at the end of "Apron Strings" and Edward got teary when I sang "Don't you cry for me.

That saved us some money and the track turned out really well. And "There's A Bell" is awfully over the topbut I like Oriental Head it's got really good stuff, and some fabulous playing from David. Every Ophelias gig, no matter how shitty, was accompanied with an excellent poster, usually with a piece of medieval art or Crowley-esque imagery, later to be plastered all over town by some team of us before said gig.

I was already far along into running and maintaining, with some like minded freaks, an 8 track recording studio Polymorph Studios, in Berkeley, to be exact and I brought Leslie in there very soon after joining up. I was as well. For me it was like being in heaven. It had the audio effect of Japanese snowflakes falling on cherry blossom trees. I was so fucking excited!

I bought it off him later, when I actually had a bit of money and still have and cherish it today. I use it all the time with Counting Crows and many a recording session. The contract with Rough Trade Records has been signed. An album awaits the making. So we're rehearsing and gigging as we may, all with the notion of getting into a recording studio and making something great.

Well, my bandmates are probably thinking that. Meanwhile, my head is spinning. I'm still getting used this band, this music, our new bandmate, and now have the spectre of a recording session at hand. I was the least experienced at the recording thing, having only done a demo record session with another band and nothing else. To make matters worse, I didn't yet have all my parts written as the date loomed large.

Over time, I found out that this is how it usually works. Most musicians don't have all their music written when they hit the studios. In fact, some bands with large bankrolls will write the album in the recording studio; terribly expensive this.

Of course, we had not that budget. In fact, Rough Trade Records ponied up a whopping 6, dollars to do Oriental Head; a laughable amount to most folks. I think most bands would have a hard time making one song in a recording studio, let alone an entire album on that budget. Frankly, I just couldn't see it and thought it a really bad joke put forward by the label.

Leslie and Dave had a different notion. These guys had experience and connections unbeknownst to me, so I just hung on for the ride. We get booked into a 16 track analog recording studio in Emeryville, California, saving us money right away. I don't know what kind of hourly rate we got from this place, but shockingly I was told we had designated a small sum for renting instruments.

Happily for me these rentals by and large turned out to be percussion instruments. If you look at the song credits on Oriental Head you will find everybody in the band eventually got to add something percussive to the songs. We even had two octaves of orchestral tubular bells show up, which Terry went crazy on during There's A Bell.

I got to rent a pair of tympani, which I dropped onto Love Is Teasing. My favourite addition was something we didn't rent but I found laying in the corner of the main sound room. It was a brake drum from somebody's car that produced a lovely tone when struck with my drumsticks. You can hear that on Plaster Of Paris. One of the main ways we saved money on the recording sessions was to record all of the rhythm tracks together in unison.

We all piled into the main room, set up as a band, and with Leslie providing a scratch vocal track, to let us know where we are during the songs, we laid it down. Our limited budget meant limited runs at each song, and I believe we got all of the rhythm tracks done in about three days.

For clarification, the "scratch" vocal tracks were later dropped in favour of what Leslie did by himself in a sound booth. Leslie was in the control room with short temper, yelling out unhelpful suggestions and I just blew a fuse and went outside for air these things happen sometimes.

Leslie came out and suggested we knock it on the head for the night and go for our regular beers. The orgasm has already happened! After the rhythm tracks for Oriental Head were recorded, the overdubs started taking place. David's turn came up to start laying down his guitar solos and embellishments on various tracks. As I was becoming a fan of his guitar work, I asked him if I could sit in the room he was recording in and silently listen.

Without hesitation, he told me "no" and I let it drop without discussion, knowing that he needed to go in with a good vibe intact. When we were recording the next album, The Big O, the exact same thing happened in reverse, with David asking me if he could be in the room as I was recording my drum tracks. I said "no' to him, probably for the same reason, as I felt the need to concentrate without distraction.

With David in the room, I would have been playing to him, rather than focusing on the music. Still, I think it's cool that we could be fans of each other while playing in the same band. I had another majorly cool moment shortly after the release of Oriental Head. I don't know how long I stood there stunned, like a piece of petrified wood but I think I was probably in shock for a moment.

Then I started running around telling everyone about it, dragging co-workers over to the radio. That was a first and a big moment for me. As a precocious music fanatic, with a big dose of civic pride, I was fairly embarrassed by the current state of affairs! I thought we had! We had a strong local underground following and got played on the local college radio stations a lot, which always thrilled to no end.

The pomposity scared some folks wankers! We thought we should go to England and with the Rough Trade connection it seemed a no brainer. So many great ideas seemed to go up in smoke I later learned this is par for the course in the music biz! Some of these shows are memorable for different reasons, such as the show at the I-Beam, where Leslie takes the stage in nude spandex and I get to watch he and David engage in faux sex on stage.

They will, of course, deny this but I was there. Or the frat house party at Cal Berkeley. We were set up downstairs in the main room, while most people were stumbling upstairs to where the electric coolaide was overflowing the place. I always felt we sounded best there. I attribute this to the on-stage sound. The sound system there was good and the people running it were very good.

They took their time during sound check to get it right. The result was how effortlessly the band members could hear each other on stage; I mean every note. It was a good size room with a nice view from the stage for watching all the rock-n-roll maniacs down front. It was an outdoor venue on a lovely spring day and about a thousand kids in attendance.

But the crazy Stanford University the show was a day when we set up in their radio studio and did a live show over the radio. Half way through show we take a break, step outside for some fresh air and lo and behold a joint is produced! It got lit, we got lit and Leslie then tells us that we are going to go back inside and do a jam in four different colours. We're stoned, and we're live on the radio.

As it happened Stanford's football team wearing Cardinal and White was playing Notre Dame's football team wearing Navy and Gold the next day. Those were the "four colours" So, we get back inside and Leslie gets on the mic and tells the listeners "this is called "Beat Notre Dame". Amazingly enough it worked. With David and I leading the way, we played musical moods that jibed with the colours Leslie called out.

These guys picked the right studio, where we could get the best bang for the buck. Randy Rood, the engineer at Emeryville Recording, was so easy to work with. He let me put effects on my drum tracks on a couple of songs during the mix down phase. Then he really stepped up to the bar by throwing down a fiddle part, which he played himself, on the jam at the end of Apron Strings.

How many engineers can do that for you? His easy going manner and expertise helped make the magic in the recording studio. Other magic was taking place outside the studio. Leslie had started a contest for the album cover art. He offered the concept and many artists returned their renditions of it, including my cousin John who did one on his computer.

Luckily, that one was not chosen and the version done by Ariadne Fellows was. The back cover art necessitated us running all over San Francisco with a photographer in tow. He got some great shots which are arrayed around the border of the backside of the album jacket. With the photos and even more tremendous artwork from Leslie, I kinda' like the back of the album jacket more than the front.

Leslie continued his artistry with the liner notes included with the record. These are things you just don't see anymore with music going digital. Interestingly enough, you also see in the liner notes a "Thanks" offered by L. This is in reference to the one bit of catastrophe that I recall hitting the band.

Terry had an upper flat on Haight Street in San Francisco, where we'd all meet on occasion. On this particular day, Leslie had left his gear, guitars and other items, in the back of Terry's truck. This truck had a lockable shell on it, so perhaps Leslie thought it secure. The thieves thought otherwise. They smashed the cheesy plastic window in the back and took it all.

Hopefully, they are burning in hell at this moment. I have no compassion for such villains. Leslie, being who he is, rallied tremendous support in replacing his equipment; and we sallied forth. Now it's back to rehearsing and gigging whilst we wait. If you have kids, then you know what it's like; the anticipation, awaiting the arrival of your new creation.

Of course, it's not the same, but having experienced both, I can tell you there is a similar expectation. When the day came and Leslie walked up to me and handed me copies of both the vinyl and cassette versions of Oriental Head I think I practically swooned. A minor fascinating point is that The Ophelias straddled that point in musical history before and after the advent of CDs.

The Big O came out in all three formats: The cherry on that sundae is The Big O coming out on vinyl in the round jacket. If that doesn't define cool, I don't know what does. See how the thrills continue There was just so much material. We also, around this time, went over to legendary Mobius Studios Dead Kennedys, Henry Kaiser etc in SF a major upgrade for us, and a place where Monks Of Doom later wound up doing a lot of work to maybe cut a deal to record the next album proper.

The owner Oliver DiCicco gave us a spec deal to record one song to see if we could get along. I vaguely remember Oliver whom later worked very fruitfully with Monks Of Doom complaining that he was hoping to make us sound like Suzanne Vega?! Hard Report said, "This is one of the most original and fascinating groups the American independent scene has to offer.

Every part of this music machine is working overtime and bandmaster Leslie Medford jumps in and out of this world with a shy, unsettled voice and moody abstract lyrics. From the blasting cacophony of horns to a quiet stab of silence, adventurous listening is a guarantee on an album that stretches your imagination while tempting the rest with one catchy chorus after another.

Tiger wrote in S. Magazine "I expect that one either loves the Ophelias or hates them because they are so completely unique in this day and age. Romanticists to the end, they shall endure as musical literature in an era practically devoid of such a thing. This band makes the listener think, and takes the listener into a secret world where other "new music" dares not go. The result is what has made me a diehard Ophelias fanatic for the past couple years.

Rough Trade were not obligated to provide tour support, and live performances, including tours, were handled by a succession of semi-professional managers engaged by the band for a percentage of gate receipts, or by The Ophelias themselves. The band managed to organize three West Coast tours Southern California to British Columbia and one national tour of university towns.

These four tours were completely self-funded and consequently done on a shoestring budget, without roadies or soundmen, "just four guys in a van". Leslie had an outrageous pan sexual wardrobe and was a shape thrower par excellence. Leslie had some flowered blouse and see through black tights with his considerable manhood visible in unambiguous detail.

Absolutely no need to look up any kilt on this occasion! Terry, skeletal and glamorous, always looked the proper rock star and Ed came straight out of the local spandex Metal scene. We played a short, loud and rollicking set to the staff and a bunch of radio folk, then later that night played a full set at The Kennel Club another local SF rock club, regularly hit by us. I believe we did lay to waste all comers that night.

I always thought we stuck out with our look, a little effort goes a long way! The games of Horse that we played were less than legendary, with me winning most of them. Being the drummer, I think I had a slight edge when it came to physical games like that. The worst thing was for me to lose one of these games as my bandmates were sure to rub it in, especially that Medford fellow.

Oh, this is the champ speaking". See, that way any time I listen to that concert for the rest of my life, I can be reminded of his victory. This man knows how to gloat. My most cherished memory from that rehearsal space does not involve basketball but does involve that Leslie Medford guy.

By this time I had been in the band long enough to realize Medford's musical mastery, seeing him play anything you put in his hands. Still, I was not prepared for the day at rehearsal when he asked if it was okay for him to climb behind my drum set for a minute of two.

I say sure, expecting the usual mindless doodling about that most people display when I let them try my drums. Instead, he starts carving out beat after beat whilst I stand there in wide-eyed amazement. I should have known better, right? There's really nothing he can't do musically and that really certified that fact for me that day.

I mean that in the best way possible, of course. You could call us a jocular bunch! The Horse games provide an apt example of how well we all got along. What I always loved about playing with Terry, David and Edward was how good David and Terry's attitude always was, because they happily participated despite not being very good at basketball.

They always got eliminated from the game first, leaving Edward and I to settle the matter, but neither ever had any bad vibe about it. On the contrary, they relished the opportunity for abusing our drummer that these Horse games provided! Edward was and is fanatical about basketball and he was an enthusiastic and decent player, always taking the game with seriousness but humor, openly resigned that I was going to win, his acknowledgement of this inevitability being his main point of conversation during the games.

Terry and Dave would wander back onto the stage, drink beer, noodle around with their gear, all the while peppering Ed with loud taunts of "He's just toying with you, Edward. We were falling down with laughter! During a three-hour rehearsal block it was great having some ballgame as a diversion. Ed and I ground it out about five times in rapid succession, got it and never had a problem with it again.

I find it annoying and disingenuous to the point of fraudulence when drug use is swept under the carpet in biographies and documentaries about bands who obviously were using psychedelic drugs as a tool to finding their muse. But I was also repressed, preached at, frustrated, reigned in and bullied by the strict puritan morality of my parents. I had to tow the line to avoid onerous consequences.

When I left home I wanted to express the things I felt. Alcohol, but mainly marijuana and psilocybin, helped me overcome my baked-in repression. I could sit and sing with my guitar and music would just come out. Early on in my guitar-playing adventure I got myself a dictaphone and began taping myself, singing on-the-spot words or gibberish if need be, playing whatever my hands wanted to play.

Listening back to the recording I would separate seed from chaff, learn a section I thought had potential, manipulate, write other words around select evocative phrases that had come subconsciously. In other words my general technique was drugs to break down the barriers, tape recorder to collect potentialities, listen, manipulate, learn, and hopefully perfect.

Truth be told, during my music years I was almost constantly high when I was making music. It is an alternate reality I know. Good musicgood art is adventurous and one of the best places to find adventure is within. Another key element in the whole thing was my girlfriends and the love and education they gave me. Again, how can The Ophelias story be told without mentioning and saluting those who were the real Ophelias to my deeply flawed Hamlet.

The "we" and the "she" of those relationships have inspired most of my songs. I loved you then and I love you now. Especially crossing over into Canada. I remember that tour being incredibly fun. We were getting played on the radio a bit and people came to check us out. It was full of gear, which was why I slept in the van.

We had experienced Leslie losing all of his gear to thieves, so I was not about to let that happen to us during the tour. If ever we arrived at a destination too late to load our stuff into the venue, then I just stayed with the van. It wasn't like that everywhere we played.

When we got up to Canada we were treated like royalty. In Vancouver, we were given two suites in a 4 star hotel. They were right next to two suites that another band from San Francisco had. They were on the bill with us that night. So, after the show, we went back to the hotel, opened the doors which joined the four suites and let the party commence.

Acoustic guitars, and beers all around; people singing drunkenly at the tops of their voices - a good time was had by all. We each had our own bed, and the kitchen was stocked full of food. So, the Canadians provided nice accommodations and both venues payed us better than we were being payed in the States. Ya' gotta' love the Canucks!!

Other on-tour after show events would have to include breaking in to the Hollywood Bowl after hours. Both of these we did with a band that Leslie knows called Shiva Burlesque; nice and crazy rock-n-rollers like ourselves. One of these guys knew how to access the stage at the Hollywood Bowl after hours.

So, after the first show, there we were in the middle of the night, prancing about on this humongous stage, in front of thousands of empty seats, in the dark, pretending to be the Beatles. Somehow, we did not get arrested. The next night we did the second show and afterwards ended up at Shiva's rehearsal studio.

This was a large loft full of music gear, in an industrial section of town, where no one would complain about the volume. I can't even tell you how many people we had in that loft that night. Leslie took off with some piece of fluff right after the show, but the rest of us went to the loft and oh, what a noise we made.

People were playing on whatever was at hand, and just jumping in to the jam whenever we could. It was a big beautiful mess that went on 'til sunrise. I love that stuff. I'm not sure if there were any naked animals involved or not. That was one of the few times in my life that I've ever been drunk. I learned about tequila that night. Ed whips out his camera and starts happily snapping away.

I corral my oblivious compatriots towards our van and suggest we high tail it outta there to find some breakfast. Anyway, we play our set and I throw our guitars in the communal dressing room behind the stage so we can fraternize with the locals without worrying about our gear.

He ends the song quickly and dives back into the dressing room while the cymbals are still ringing, show over. I go back to retrieve my guitars only to find the drummer shooting heroin right over one of my guitar cases, I mean, seconds later!? Still, some outstanding gigs happened. It was actually just Arthur, a guy from The Knack, and two Rastafariansbut it was killer, and packed to the gills.

Love played for 25 minutes, but it was a good 25 minutes. Dominating in our home court. This was huge for us and we were so stoked. Of course any band worth their weight in salt has lived some version of this scenario. I had always wondered what it would be like to play in the big arena. Of course, David has been there over and over with the Counting Crows.

My one time was when the Ophelias got to open for Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was a "one off'" that left a huge impression with me, starting with the sound check. Of course at that point the arena is empty, so you get the sound through the P. We're sound checking the drums and I'm hearing them coming through this gigantic P.

I didn't want to finish the sound check. As it happens, the dressing room we were assigned to was actually a racketball court. They had a bunch of tables set up on one side, with food and drinks on them, and a number of rolling office chairs for us to sit on. So, naturally, being a rock band, we had rolling chair races up and down the racketball court.

Then it was time to go on. That was a moment unto itself, leaving the dressing room, going through a couple of hallways and into the darkened arena. We are confronted by a large long black ramp, leading up to a large black curtain that cordoned off the stage from the backstage area. We proceed up the ramp and through the curtain. That's when the buzz hits you; the murmur of the crowd anticipating the start.

You don't see them, just the hundreds of small flames from people sparking up. From the stage you could only see about three rows deep out on the floor in front of the stage. But, you could feel them all. It was so exciting. Then we were announced and playing; a total out of body experience. Then the lump in your throat comes when you finish the first song, and there's that eternity from the finish of the song until you hear the audience applaud.

Because, you don't know. Are they going to like us? That silence in between is deafening and goes on forever. It's only seconds, but seems a lifetime. Then the thousands applaud and you're suddenly in the zone and ready for more. The next album was scheduled by Rough Trade for a Spring release, so by the end of Autumn the band began busying themselves toward that end. Mobius was easily the best studio I have ever set foot in, let alone recorded in, and Oliver the highest flight engineer.

The sonic tones on the one track we completed at Mobius are the richest of any Ophelias recording. This is how it happened: DiCicco had approached me after a show in San Francisco and invited me to come by and discuss doing our next album with him. He had all our previous records, really liked us and apparently had been observing and contemplating us for a while.

I had no idea what Oliver or Mobius was about until David and I went bythe place was amazing. Light wood paneling that curved everywhere for proper acoustics. It was obvious Oliver was intelligent and a real professional. After we talked he went to Rough Trade and struck a deal for one eight hour session, offering Rough Trade a discounted fee.

He'd see how he liked working with us and vice versa. I believe he chose "Pretty Green Ice Box Eyes" as a song he liked and one which would show off his studio and engineering capabilities and I think the results speak for themselves. He took the finished song to Rough Trade and said "These are the type of results you can expect from me" and he proposed a deal for an album.

But Rough Trade couldn't or wouldn't meet his price and negotiations went nowhere. I don't know what he was asking but Rough Trade just wouldn't go there. They bought "Pretty Green Ice-Box Eyes" but told us we had to find a less-expensive studio for the rest of the album. There is one other thing I would mention as part of this episode: It seems to me quite possible that Oliver diCicco may have become a mentor to me, one that could perhaps have had positive impact on our career.

I'm sure I needed a steadying influence, someone with clout and experience who saw the big picture. My sense is that he was someone I would have listened to, respected and understood the wisdom of an opinion he expressed even when it diverged from my own. I was always just winging it, steering instinctively, and in retrospect I know I directed us into some traps, traps we might have avoided with the help of the right fifth person.

The place had been upgraded since they were there in and and Bryson was always easy to work with and increasingly accomplished. Furthermore he was sometimes running their live sound at club dates in San Francisco, so he had a good handle on The Ophelias. We conducted several photo sessions in the building while we were recording there.

The album cover and the music do all seem of a piece to me. Again, I felt that the drum and bass tracking took up too much of our budget but I was at least partly to blame for this because I brought in several new songs we hadn't played live. This meant Edward and Terry were still learning them as the sessions began. I thought we might get fresh and fired-up exuberance but in reality this was not playing to their strengths.

And of course, the more time spent on the rhythm section the less time remained for all other tracking. This may have made the album less theatrically whole than it might have been. We got a good deal from pal David Bryson, my current bandmate in Counting Crows! As previously mentioned, we had a big chunk of it already done at my studio, and I love those tunes.

So he became insistent and insufferable about what was going on the album. We immediately started talking about another album, but Rough Trade flagged shortly after that, and we found ourselves without a record contract, and shrinking prospects. Still, we soldiered on, playing our gigs and holding court at our adopted headquarters in SF - Zeitgeist, a biker bar a couple blocks from our rehearsal space, where we were treated well and copious pints were consumed as the band fell into even greater Dostoevskian nihilism.

Martina, Medford and Sabrina. It was a fairly sterile undertaking for me. The approach was different on this album, with everything being done to a click track and everyone recording their parts separately. I know this is a fairly common method of recording. I think you lose something, though, when the band isn't playing together as a band.

There are some good points to recording this way. When recording in unison, if you make a mistake, you live with it. When recording alone, you can go over a passage in a song as many times as necessary to get it right. It was pretty weird though, going in everyday not knowing what had been previously recorded by whichever bandmates had been in earlier to do their parts.

I was given five hours a night for two weeks to record all my parts. I would go into the room by myself, where the drums were set up and mic'd. I sit down at the kit and put the headphones on. I get the click track through one ear piece and what bits and been recorded by my bandmates during their sessions. It's pretty strange having skeletal versions of songs played for you to fit your parts too.

I'm sure a lot of folks like doing it this way, but for me, I miss the inspiration of playing with my bandmates. Released in March , vinyl copies of The Big O were packaged in a die-cut, round album jacket, the last occurrence of this before the music industry stopped manufacturing vinyl albums in Dawn Hood wrote, "Out of the sky comes a third rollicking effort by San Francisco's retro-rompers.

This is sheer psychedelic entertainment, enhanced by witty song styles and erratic vocals that follow in the shadow of Zappa. The Big O is in your face from the opening note, and keeps on truckin' as dubious arrangements find themselves changing shape like a lava lamp. The Big O is not only the best bloomin' disc The Ophelias have conjured up to date, but it tugs you in new directions by reworking music of the past.

Nils Berstein of OPTION Music Alternatives magazine Los Angeles wrote, "This immensely original and entertaining San Francisco quartet are based in solid rock'n'roll beefy acoustic and electric guitars and heavy beats but where they go from there is anyone's guess. Their oddly powerful and incredibly diverse music incorporates trumpets, harmonica, and pedal steelin a sound that can alternate from raunchy to sweet in seconds.

The only musical comparison that pops up with any consistency is T-Rex; after that compare them to the Zombies, Queen, XTC and everyone in between. Let's just say The Ophelias have no influences. The Ophelias conjure up intense imagery and sing with infectious confidence and celebration. David Fricke of Rolling Stone wrote, "In the Sixties, psychedelia wasn't just a sound; it was a state of mind.

The biggest drag about Eighties psychedelia is that for every dozen bands that talk about blowing minds reciting the proper influences, trotting out the hip covers , there are really only one or two that can blow anything other than hot air. The Ophelias, from where else?

San Francisco, belong to that delightfully manic minority. Their fourth release, The Big O is a potent tab of futurist acid pop, with a jagged ensemble intensity that sounds like vintage English freakbeat,early Pink Floyd, a pithier Van der Graaf Generator, laced with postpunk menace.

Leslie Medford's occasional trumpet adds a spooky Renaissance gentility. The new album is The Big O. Leslie Medford's songs are structurally and lyrically all over the place, consistently fascinating and his singing is like no one else ever. The band is instrumentally superb, with Medford's rhythm and David Immergluck's lead guitaring always impressively original and trailblazing and the odd assortment of other noisemakers at Medford's command make for some wild juxtapositions of mood and colour.

Each song is like three or four. You wonder, are these people just really smart or plain out of their heads? Dang cool, whatever it is! I wouldn't have guessed that they knew who we were. One of my two brothers came up with the issue. It had the actor Michael Keaton on the cover, as he had just played the role of Batman in a movie that was out at the time.

It was a pleasant surprise, especially since they only had nice things to say about us, although I wonder at the take that we were a "psychedelic" rock band. But, you know, Mick, I've lost track of the number of different labels put on The Ophelias music.

The Rolling Stones had it right: I know, it's only rock n roll, but I like it. Then there was the video. The day of the shoot was probably the drunkest day of my life, again. Actually, Mick, it was kinda' unavoidable. The video we made involved drinking lots of beer. On behalf of authenticity, we did not substitute water for beer. If you just want lineart for a commission however, I can give it to you, but the commission won't be any cheaper than a full-colored pic.

Because I'm going to fully color it anyways. Your commission will fall inside this range. As long as it is not too complicated, this will not make the price change at all, promise. Also depends on complexity. Won't exceed 4 characters. Price is due to me not simply drawing on clothes but that I'm actually making a completely separate pic. Depends on panel number.

Try to stay 4 panels or less. See below guidelines for making sure your comic page doesn't get denied. I really don't like doing comics, but a one off comic page is fine with me. Already got a premium DA account so no need for them. Sorry, but I'm not pressed for money right now to the point where I won't turn down an idea.

I've done sooo many characters that it's likely that people will be asking me to draw someone I've done over and over. I'm not "on the clock" until I've shown you a sketch and told you a price. I get many commission requests so I'm likely to just read your request and screenshot it rather than respond right away.

So don't contact me over and over asking did I see it lol, yes I did. Due to many cases of not being paid for work in the past, I don't start lineart until payment. However, I don't want you paying without anything to go off, so I will show you a sketch always. Do NOT pay me until the sketch meets your approval.

I'll try to make it as detailed as the finished lineart would be. If something's wrong, tell me and I'l' fix the sketch over n over until you feel ready to pay. I might not draw And I'm not gonna color the sketch unless it's really hard to make out. Small mistakes on my part, sure. But "I decided I wanted her hair in a ponytail" is an issue you should've decided during the sketching.

Hence the importance of the sketch. One that's clear and detailed, but not overly complicated. What kinda pose, big boobs? Lol, or "Draw my OC from behind so we can see her butt. Also, make her play with her bellybutton ring. And show her looking up at the camera, while we can see under her skirt!

I can't think of anything. Comment on this journal if you want to know about something.

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During those two years Rough Trade shipped all masters in their control to the UK, declared bankruptcy, and misplaced The Ophelias masters, which have never been located or returned to Medford. I boxed up my music memorabilia, live performance cassettes, photographs, et cetera and stored them away. There are puzzles too, yes, but it's the small details that propel a player through "Boxboy! I was as well. Myself on drums, a kid on a Fender Rhodes 88 key electric piano, a Robert Plant wannabe on vocals, and this little black kid from Alabama on a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.

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  4. Instead of a tortilla, there is hot naan plucked out of a tandoor; instead of carnitas, there is chicken tikka, tandoori shrimp, chickpeas or the fresh cheese called paneer, all served out of colorful enameled iron pots; instead of salsas there is a choice of chutneys the one made with pureed cilantro isn't bad and instead of sliced bell peppers there are shallot pickles or red chile oil.
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  7. So, the Canadians provided nice accommodations and both venues payed us better than we were being payed in the States.

David Pagel Ends Saturday, Aug. Pretty Green Ice-Box Eyes. It is the instrument of choice for some repertories, like the songs of Wagner and Strauss, such as she sang on her last recital in the area, but Brewer has also excelled in works by other composers that can benefit from a large, broad voice. David was a godsend.


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